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Walter Armstrong Walter Armstrong

A New Strain of Marijuana, Brought to You by Uncle Sam!

4 Substance


A researcher at the US government’s pot farm, breeding medicinal Mary Jane  Photo via

The US government runs a marijuana farm at the University of Mississippi, funded by the National Institute for Drug Abuse, where researchers have just cultivated a new strain of weed for the first time ever.

The plant was bred to have equal levels of marijuana’s main active ingredients, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol ) and CBD (cannabidiol). By contrast, the marijuana produced by Mother Nature has high THC and low CBD.

The new strain is unlikely to excite recreational users because THC is the molecule that gets you high. But CBD can boast of other virtues. In animal studies, it has shown abundant beneficial health effects and minimal side effects. Researchers say that it has the potential to expand the range of medical marijuana’s applications far beyond its current THC-derived treatment for pain and nausea.

However, Israeli researchers developed a pot strain in 2009 that outstrips the new American brand, with 15% CBD and a mere 1% THC. The US is behind the curve because cannabis remains on the DEA’s Schedule I list, along with heroin, MDMA and other allegedly most dangerous drugs with no medical uses. Steep regulatory barriers have long slowed every aspect of medical marijuana research and development.

A number of parents of children with a rare, severe and untreatable type of epilepsy have relocated their families to Colorado since marijuana legalization there has increased access to high-CBD pot. The US’s first clinical trial of purified CBD started in January after many months of red tape, as the medical journal Nature reported this week. The experimental drug, Epidiolex, will be tested as an anticonvulsant in this childhood affliction.